Bordow: Patience lacking when it comes to managers - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Bordow: Patience lacking when it comes to managers

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Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 8:05 pm | Updated: 9:48 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Today, Bob Melvin is the reigning National League Manager of the Year. Tomorrow? That depends.

Mets fire manager Willie Randolph, Manuel promoted

Read Scott Bordow's blog

If the Diamondbacks hold onto their lead in the NL West, his reputation will survive for another season.

But if Arizona folds down the stretch and doesn't make the playoffs, public opinion will swiftly turn against him.

Such is the life for managers and coaches.

They're a genius one game, an idiot the next.

Which brings us to Tuesday morning's firing of New York Mets manager Willie Randolph.

I don't pretend to have some inside knowledge of the Mets organization, although from all accounts it sounds like the Keystone Kops have relocated to Queens.

But it continues to amaze me that teams think firing a manager will solve all their problems, particularly in the middle of a season.

Sometimes a managerial change does work. The New York Yankees won the 1978 World Series because they fired the poisonous Billy Martin and replaced him with the easygoing Bob Lemon.

But for the most part, changing coaches is like putting a new tire on a car with engine problems. It may roll smoother for a while, but eventually the car is going to break down.

"That's the way it is in sports nowadays," Melvin said. "You can't get rid of all the players."

It's the rare team now that has its coach's back through good times and bad. Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller could have jettisoned Jerry Sloan when the Jazz went 26-56 in 2004-05.

But Miller recognized that Sloan was a terrific coach when he had better players - namely John Stockton and Karl Malone - and he would be again when the team's talent was upgraded.

Miller's patience has been rewarded with two straight playoff appearances and a Western Conference finals berth in 2006-2007.

Do some coaches deserve to be fired?


The Cardinals had to get rid of Buddy Ryan, whose ego was destroying the organization from within. Ditto with Dennis Green.

But there are too many owners out there with a quick trigger finger and an empty space where their common sense should be.

Thankfully, that's not the case with the Diamondbacks.

Why, it was just two years ago that Melvin was considered too quiet, too easygoing to be a successful major league manager.

Had managing general partner Ken Kendrick and general manager Josh Byrnes listened to the nonsense, the Diamondbacks wouldn't have reached the National League championship series last season.

Now Randolph has lost his job even though right fielder Moises Alou has played in all of 15 games, Carlos Delgado is hitting .242 and closer Billy Wagner blew two saves against Arizona last week.

Yeah, that's the manager's fault.

"I feel bad for him," Melvin said. "They have a lot of veteran guys you expect to go out and perform."

Here's a piece of advice: The next time your favorite team goes through a rough patch and you're screaming for a coaching change, remember two things:

It's the rare coach who can turn lemons into lemonade.

And he's probably not sitting out there, just waiting for a job.

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